The Gibbes and The Giving Tree

The Gibbes Museum of Art recently entered a new phase in its 156 year history when it closed its doors to staff, loyal patrons, and visitors. I think that I can safely speak on behalf of the entire staff when I say that this period for us has been mixed with a little sadness, a bit of trepidation, but mostly, great excitement and enthusiasm. In 2011, I joined the Gibbes as a grant writer, and for the past three years, I have had the pleasure of submitting many applications sharing the Gibbes vision of the future. We are now finally in the countdown to a new, vibrant artistic center that will successfully blend the process of art creation with art exhibition. The Gibbes’ amazing collection of more than 10,000 works of art will finally be showcased in a place worthy of its high caliber pieces of art. Charleston has received accolades and high-rankings for so many of its achievements including restaurants, hospitality, and overall character, so it seems only fitting that this city house a world-class museum building.

But today, my purpose is not to share what has been written countless times about the future of the Gibbes but, rather, to simply thank all who have been part of this journey up to this point and to invite others to join us. Suffice it to say this journey has been the collective vision of many who come from all different walks of life. Yet they all share the common belief and passion that the Gibbes be rejuvenated and restored.

I am reminded of one of my favorite books to share with my children at this time of year – The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year!). The story is a simple tale of a boy and a tree, and the tree gives all that it has to the boy in a lifetime because it loves the boy.  At the end of the story, the boy (now an old man) ponders his life and considers how he has been blessed by the tree.  A certain sadness remains in the fact that the tree is left only as a stump.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

I believe there are parallels to this story and how we give and take in the world around us. The Gibbes Museum is like the “Giving Tree” because it is a place that continually gives to its visitors, patrons, and the community. Like the leaves and the branches, every piece of art tells a different story, and every person who walks through the museum doors has a different story to share. The Gibbes visual narratives can only be shared over and over throughout history as long as there is place that can house these great works. In three years, we have achieved $10,500,000 towards the renovation project. This is no small feat, and, again, could not be done without you. We are nearing the finish line as we strive to reach our goal of $13,400,000.  Thank you so very much for helping us to reach this point, and I ask you to stay the course with us and see this journey through. At this time of year, please consider a gift to the Gibbes Museum of Art that has blessed us and will continue to bless us with its many activities and programs. Let us not leave our museum as a “stump” but allow it to grow and flourish like the beautiful tree at the start of the story.

For year-end donations, please contact me, Jennifer Ross, director of development at 843.722.2706 X16 or via email at jross@gibbesmuseum.org.

I leave you with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

I wish you a healthy, happy, holiday season!

Jen Ross, Director of Development

Art of Healing Presents: Flower Power

Our December Art of Healing program presents Flower Power with floral design experts Gretchen Cuddy of Gretchen Cuddy Floral Designs, and Clara Varga-Gonzales of Tiger Lily Florists. Flowers have a powerful impact on the senses and can communicate a variety of sentiments. Gretchen and Clara were kind enough to answer questions about their philosophy of floral design in preparation for this event. Learn more from this talented duo on how horticulture enhances health and healing with moderator Dr. Jeb Hallett on December 10 at 6pm. The Thomas Bennett House will be decorated for the holidays—join us for this festive affair!

Thomas Bennett House

The Thomas Bennett House decorated for the holidays

Tell me about your background with floral design. When did you begin working with flowers and how has your work evolved over the years?

(Gretchen) My floral background started in college when I took a watercolor painting class, I would often create floral still life arrangements for the class to paint. Color combinations and the use of varied greenery and unique vases was a big part of the process. The use of texture and the contrast of natural elements in an arrangement have always interested me; it makes the final creation less expected to the viewer’s eye. Over the years, I have spent quite a bit of time working with florals for churches and sacred spaces. Presently, I create arrangements for numerous events in Charleston and love to use local plant materials to evoke a relationship with the beautiful Lowcountry.

(Clara) I started working with flowers 18 years ago. My husband and I bought Tiger Lily florist in 1996. Weddings are always evolving depending on what the style is at the time. Our goal has always been to have big bright flowers in arrangements. American send much fewer flowers than Europeans do. It’s just not our tradition as much as it is overseas to have flowers on a daily basis. Therefore it’s very important for us to carry flowers that have a long vase life so that the consumer feels like they received a good value.

Flowers by Tiger Lilly

Flowers by Tiger Lilly

What is it about working with flowers that is healing for you?

(Gretchen) I find that when I am working with flowers I can allow myself to be as creative as possible. It is almost like an out of body experience for me at times, and is better than any therapy. I can completely forget my troubles and transport myself into another world where the beauty of an arrangement gives me the greatest joy. It is self-healing in a way that is very personal.

(Clara) I think working with flowers in the flower shop is a different dynamic then working with flowers at home. When I work with flowers at home it’s more relaxing for me because there’s not the stress of getting it right for the client or making sure that the flowers are the correct shade or variety. There also isn’t the pressure of time constraints and delivery complications as far as transportation.

What are your favorite flowers to work with? Are there some types of flowers that are your least favorite?

(Gretchen) My favorite flowers to work with are sunflowers. I love the contrast of the yellow petals against the dark brown center. I almost always have a bouquet of them in my kitchen….they just make me smile. My least favorite flowers that I honestly cannot use are the ones that have been artificially dyed. It is simply a violation of nature and denies the flower its true color and beauty.

(Clara) My favorite flower to work with has always been tulips. I had tulips at my wedding and I enjoy them so much because they don’t need a lot of design and they continue to grow even after they are cut. Peonies remind me of my father, but they are not always available. My least favorite flowers have always been the more common ones such as statice and Alstromeria, although I do like daisies and carnations.

Describe your creative process. Do you begin with a color or type of flower in mind? Or is more about a client’s preference?

(Gretchen) My creative process to begin an arrangement consists of several variables, namely the season, the style of the event, the budget. From there, I select the vase or container to compliment the overall design, and then work to define the line and scale of the arrangement. I love going BIG with arrangements and I always remind myself to try and keep that in check as sometimes a smaller arrangement is really what is needed. In the end, I personally have to be satisfied with the final product before I can part with it.

(Clara) If the choice is up to me I prefer to work with 5 to 7 different types of flowers, each with different texture and shapes. I’ll lay them all out in front of me and then create the arrangement in my mind based on the shapes and sizes that I have to work with.

Gretchen Cuddy flowers

Flowers by Gretchen Cuddy Designs

Why do we give flowers to people for happy and sad occasions? Weddings and funerals?

(Gretchen) The gift of flowers to someone shows that you care. It also shows that you are not afraid to live in the moment, because as we all know, flowers do not last forever, so an arrangement of flowers allows one to stop if only for a moment to appreciate the beauty that flowers bring no matter what the occasion, happy or sad.

(Clara) Studies show that living with flowers strengthens our feelings of compassion and decreases our anxiety and worry. I think that especially for funerals it’s important for families to receive flowers in their home. They spend a lot of time in their homes after a loved one has passed, and it can have a positive impact on their mood. When we do flowers for a wedding it’s almost as if once the flowers have been delivered and the reception and churches are set, that’s when the festivities can begin. My brides have always realized the implication of what’s about to happen once the flowers have arrived. That’s when they start crying. There’s some sort positive energy that comes from flowers and live plants!

Art of Healing: Flower Power

Wednesday, December 10, 6pm

 $20 Members, $30 Non Members

Location: Thomas Bennett House, 69 Barre Street

To purchase tickets, please visit gibbesmuseum.org/events or call 843.722.2706 x21

Roper logoSponsored by Roper St. Francis Foundation

Amy Mercer, Marketing and Communications Manager

Building the Gibbes Gator

Gibbes Gator Mascot

Gibbes Gator Mascot, designed by Erin Banks

Art education for children is a fundamental component of the Gibbes Museum of Art. Throughout the year we offer a variety of programs to students of all ages in school and at locations throughout the tri county area. When we reopen in the spring of 2016, the first floor of the museum will be dedicated to classroom space for children and adults. A year ago, Rebecca Sailor, curator of education, introduced the idea of creating a museum mascot. Rebecca felt it was important to have a visual symbol of the museum that could engage and interact with children and families inside and outside of the museum. We began brainstorming with Erin Banks, our graphic designer, and came up with the concept for the Gibbes Gator. We launched the Gator in our summer camp brochure and have been using him on all marketing materials related to children’s programming. Our next step was to reach out to Charleston County School of the Arts visual arts teacher Marie Nichols to ask if her students would be interested in bringing our Gator to life. We wanted a life sized gator who could interact with children at events and eventually, in the museum during school tours, classes, and camp sessions. Marie immediately said yes, and recommended sophomore costume design student Julia Dotson. We met with Julia in September and she agreed to take on the project of building our mascot. We spoke to Julia recently and asked her to give us a glimpse into this exciting project.

When did you become interested in creating art? Or, when did you realize you had a talent for art?

Well, I have been creating ever since I could remember. One of the first toys that my mom ever gave me was a plain black marker and one of those ginormous packs of computer paper. And even when I was small, I remember accumulating inspiration from PBS shows that had something to do with creating, even if it was something like Bob the Builder or a tutorial on how to make Aladdin’s magic carpet out of strips of paper. And I guess I realized I was entirely infatuated with creation was when I decided to try out for the School of the Arts and finally took art lessons— besides the ones offered by the South Carolina public school system. But I never realized that I had a talent until someone like the Gibbes Museum came to ask for a commission!

How long have you been a student at SOA?

I have now attended School of the Arts since the sixth grade, which would be over four years.

Costume design is a new major at SOA, can you tell me more about this major and what it entails? Do you see this as something you will continue to pursue at the college level?

Currently, each costume design student is learning the foundations of sewing and garment making, such as learning to sew a zipper or the daunting, yet exhilarating task of pattern making. And as the year goes by, I believe that we will learn more comprehensive things, for instance, making an entire garment from pattern to embellishments (which sounds easy, but is actually a very difficult task).

The field of costume design currently is one the interests that I have in mind for a college major, my choice, however, still weighs between this, fashion design, and the fine arts.

Gibbes Gator

Gibbes Gator designed by Julia

What was your reaction when we presented the Gibbes Gator project to you? Did this project seem overwhelming?

I was initially honored and trilled to make something for the only art museum in all of Charleston. This is a place I went when I was just six years old and gazed at monumental paintings. And at the time I was offered the commission, it did not appear to be overwhelming, but when I actually started to work on the project I realized that I’d underestimated the amount of attention one costume needs. The actual carving of the foam for each body part proved not as the most troublesome, but actually finding the materials turned out to be the most difficult part. I wanted to capture the ‘chummy’ quality of the drawing that I was presented with (designed by Erin Banks, Gibbes graphic designer), and found that faux lime green upholstery alligator leather would not do the job. After about a month of searching for the perfect, child-friendly material, I finally found the perfect pea green corduroy.

This is something that you are working on outside of school, how are you finding the time?

I genuinely enjoy sitting at home with Edith Piaf music or the television show Twin Peaks in the background while I attempt to create an alligator out of foam and green corduroy pants!

Julia at work on the Gibbes Gator

Julia at work on the Gibbes Gator

Tell me about the process of designing the Gibbes Gator.

Like most of my sculptures ‘Gibbes the Gator’ consists of paper mache and malleable fabric, but this is my first experience carving foam, which I found not as pleasurable as sculpting strips of paper together. But as a mentioned before, trying to find green corduroy in Charleston was a very difficult thing!

The smock that makes up approximately half of the note garment is just a thin canvas material that is standard for most artist smocks. That’s why I wanted to keep the entire garment to a certain style, which was The Wind in the Willows. I first saw this production in California, and was inspired by Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox (hence the abundant use of corduroy). This led to the look I wanted for the Gator, which is almost like a man magically made into an alligator that can sing and dance. It’s as if the whole world is a musical!

What has been the most rewarding and the most frustrating aspects of this project?

To be honest, the most exasperating part of this project was finding the materials, and then having to redesign over and over again to accommodate for abilities and resources that were available. Yet, the idea that I am making an entire costume that other people will enjoy is a catalyst to keep working to finish this protracted task!

We are so grateful to the School of the Arts and to Julia for agreeing to take on this challenge! If you are interested in donating to this project, please contact Rebecca Sailor at 722.2706 x41 or rsailor@gibbesmuseum.org.

Amy Mercer, Marketing and Communications Manager

Distinguished Lecture Presents Tod Williams and Billie Tsien

 

Tod Williams and BillieTsien by JasonSmith

Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien photographed at the building they designed, the University of Chicago Logan Center for the Arts, on September 19, 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

On Wednesday, November 19 the Distinguished Lecture Series will present New York based and internationally acclaimed architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, whose design of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia is critically acclaimed. Williams and Tsien were recently awarded the National Medal of Arts, which recognized their contributions to architecture and arts education. “Whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them, and their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions,” said President Obama.

Barnes Foundation

Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, designed by Williams and Tsien.

Founded with the generous support of Gibbes Board member and philanthropist Esther Ferguson, The Distinguished Lecture Series brings outstanding, world-renowned artists, architects, art collectors, museum leaders, philanthropists, and art historians to Charleston to stimulate public discussion about the visual arts and creativity. Mrs. Ferguson says, “Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are the rock stars in architecture today.”

Williams and Tsien in the New York Studio

Williams and Tsien in the New York Studio.

Their studio, located in New York City, focuses on work for cultural non-profits, particularly museums and schools; organizations that value issues of aspiration and meaning, timelessness and beauty. Their inspired buildings are carefully made and useful in ways that speak to both efficiency and the spirit. A sense of rootedness, light, texture, detail, and most of all experience are at the heart of what they build.

“We believe in a slow process, we believe in long engagements. We have to have control over our projects all the way from beginning to end. I think they’re built beautifully because we really know how to put them together,” says Williams in an interview with Architectural Digest. Tsien adds, “Every time we work with somebody on a project, it changes our lives. Tod and I have been talking about the idea of service and how serving people really makes every project better. So it’s not just about yourself, it’s about the strengths, the power, and the vision of the client you’re serving.”

This event is incredibly timely for the museum as we prepare to launch a major renovation. Williams and Tsien will join Mrs. Ferguson for a ‘hard hat’ tour of the building on Wednesday morning, followed by an intimate lunch at the Charleston Grill with sponsors of the event.

Join us on Wednesday, November 19 at 6pm at Memminger Auditorium to hear more about Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s body of work and design philosophy.

$50 Members, $60 Non-Members

To purchase tickets, please visit gibbesmuseum.org/events or call 843.722.2706 x21
Amy Mercer, Marketing and Communications Manager

 

Art with a Twist presents, Unexpected Treasures

Reinterpreting the past for today’s home and garden. Architectural salvage, antique decor, iron work, garden elements, and much more than we can describe!

2014 Charleston Symphony Orchestra League's Annual Designer Showcase

2014 Charleston Symphony Orchestra League’s Annual Designer Showcase, Master Bedroom

Jeff McKinney and Randy Grussing embrace a ‘fearless use of color’ in their designs. This attribute was on display in the vibrant master bedroom in the 2014 Charleston Symphony Orchestra League’s Annual Designer Showcase. As first time participants in the event, the dynamic duo endeavored to create a spectacular room for guests. The palette of the bedroom was inspired by a lowcountry sunset. “We were driving over the James Island connector one evening and the horizon was saturated with violent streaks of plums and paprika,” Jeff explains. American Gothic Revival Philadelphia gate posts from the 1850’s were transformed into bedside lamps, and a pair of marble topped tables with wrought iron bases were such a hit that they sold the second day of the show. Their design, titled Charleston Indochiene, received the Viewer’s Choice Award. When asked why he thought the room was so successful Jeff explained that the color combinations are unexpected and inviting. It was a room that looked lived in with furniture that was built to last.

These color combinations and customized furniture creations are on display in the showroom Circe on Saint Andrews Boulevard in West Ashley. A visit to the showroom is a sensory delight filled with lush fabrics, one-of-a kind antiques, and 19, 20, and 21 century items for the home. Jeff and Randy also own Architectural Antiques and Design, which is just down the street from Circe and is more of a warehouse where clients can discover hidden treasures.  “People will find ideas at Circe and the raw product at the warehouse,” Jeff explains. Working one on one with clients, they customize pieces that reflect the client’s personal style and offer designer fabrics at affordable prices.

AWAT Unexpected Treasures

Antique lamps ‘repurposed’ by Jeff and Randy

A team of locally sourced, skilled blacksmiths, lamp smiths, and upholsterers repurpose and update the antiques. Randy explains that, “what you live with has to change as you change.” He adds that we just don’t have the quality craftsmanship anymore, which is part of the reason he and Jeff work to educate clients about the value of pieces and the potential for modification. They feel that many people today have a disposable cultural sensibility. This belief in the intrinsic value of products from the past is reflected in the delicate curves of a settee, the smooth texture of a wooden dresser, and the summer blue spot of turquoise on the lamps in the corner. These are unexpected treasures indeed!

Architectural Antiques Vignette

Architectural Antiques Vignette, designed by Jeff and Randy

Join Jeff and Randy at Circe and Architectural Antiques & Design on Thursday, November 13 at 6pm for Unexpected Treasures: Re-designing Artful Artifacts. They will lead guests on a tour through the showroom and warehouse and share their expert tips on reinterpreting the past for today’s home and garden. A reception will follow.

Location: 903-C and 1011-A Saint Andrews Boulevard, next to Hambys. Limited parking is available at both locations so carpooling is suggested.

$20 Members, $30 Non-Members

To purchase tickets please visit gibbesmuseum.org/events or call 843.722.2706 x21.

Photos by Holger Obenaus
Amy Mercer, Marketing and Communications Manager

Art of Healing through dance, architecture, and flowers

The Gibbes Museum takes pride in the community partnerships that we’ve established over the years. An example of this is our involvement with Roper St. Francis Healthcare through the Art of Healing program. Established in 2012 by Gibbes Board Member and Roper St. Francis surgeon, Dr. Jeb Hallett, the Art of Healing explores the connections between art, personal well-being, and healing through panel discussions, workshops, and an art lending collection for Roper St. Francis Rehabilitation Hospital patients. “Art can help transport a patient’s attention away from their pain or condition to produce more positive emotions” says Dr. Hallett. Now in its third year, the program continues to expand with more workshops, conversations, and artists. To learn more about the Art of Healing lending program, enjoy this youtube video created by Roper St. Francis staff, Shane Ellis.

The next Art of Healing conversation will take place on November 4 at 6pm at the Circular Congregational Church  at 150 Meeting Street. This panel discussion will focus on how architecture and the spaces we build and inhabit can lead to healing and well-being.  Expert panelists include the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation Senior Director of Properties, and Hay House Director, Jonathan Poston, and Ray Huff, Director of the Clemson Architecture Center who will join Dr. Hallett for this moderated conversation.

Hard Light in Trumbo Street, 1934

An example of Charleston architecture by artist Prentiss Taylor

 

Dr. Hallett will ask probing questions such as: why have certain elements of architecture remained critically important over time? Why is light important to well-being, and how does certain forms such as Palladian windows and columns persisted over time? (The original term for a Palladian window is a serliana (or a Serlian Motif).  It is an archway or window with three openings, the central one arched and wider than the flanking openings (which were rectangular and enclosed at the top by an architrave). The Italian Renaissance architect/master builder, Andrea Palladio, 1508-1580 popularized this architectural motif.) The panelists will discuss Charlestonian architectural styles such as the Single House to examine the ‘health benefits’ of this design. The Art of Healing discussions include interactive discussions with the audience, which are always engaged and intimate.

This is sure to be an interesting and lively discussion, and a cocktail reception will follow the discussion.

Art of Design 2014

Flowers by Gretchen Cuddy for the 2014 Art of Design luncheon

One December 10 at 6pm, the Art of Healing: Flower Power will be held at the Thomas Bennett House on 69 Barre Street. Dr. Hallett will be joined by floral design expert Gretchen Cuddy as well as Clara Varga-Gonzales of Tiger Lily Florist. Cuddy and Varga-Gonzales will discuss why flowers and horticulture appeal to our senses and discuss why implementing natural elements in the home and other buildings can promote well-being.
Amanda Breen, Membership Coordinator

Rice in the Lowcountry: The Art of Jonathan Green and Alice Ravenel Huger Smith

Rice Plantation by Jonathan Green

Rice Plantation by Jonathan Green

Though the building may be closed, the Gibbes Museum of Art remains as open as ever. This fall we have a stellar lineup of programs and events, including the next installment of our Insider Art Series, Rice in the Lowcountry: The Art of Jonathan Green and Alice Ravenel Huger Smith. Scheduled for Thursday, October 30, this one-night event will feature a display of 21 works by two of Charleston’s most beloved artists, both of whom created paintings focused on rice cultivation.

Mending a Break in a Rice-Field Bank, from the series A Carolina Rice Plantation of the Fifties

Mending a Break in a Rice-Field Bank, by Alice R. H. Smith

Alice Smith has long captured the imagination of museum visitors, and her Rice Plantation series is one of the main reasons why. These beautifully-rendered watercolors were created circa 1935 to illustrate the publication A Carolina Rice Plantation of the Fifties. A selection of ten paintings from the series will be on view, paired with eleven paintings from Jonathan Green’s rice series. Together, the works explore the history of rice cultivation and the people and agricultural processes behind the rice industry.

The evening of October 30th will also feature a silent auction of four paintings from Green’s rice series. This is a rare opportunity to view and purchase one of Green’s works for your personal collection. And you can learn more about the paintings directly from the artist himself. Green will be in attendance, which is sure to make the evening a memorable one. So mark your calendar and be sure to join us for this wonderful Insider Art Series event!

Pam Wall, Curator of Exhibitions

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.gibbesmuseum.org/events or call (843) 722-2706 x21.

 

Simplicity, Q & A with author and designer Nancy Braithwaite

Nancy Braithwaite

Author and designer Nancy Braithwaite

“After 25 years of exposure to the best work out there, I’ve found that it’s simplicity that’s the hardest thing to do well. It is an art. And Nancy Braithwaite has perfected that art . . . I think she’s one of the great American designers of our day.”

—Dara Caponigro, from the Foreword

Nancy Braithwaite has established herself as one of the most distinctive American designers of our time. Long before spare, sophisticated spaces came into fashion, Braithwaite was renowned for her discerning eye and ability to pare down a room to its ideal essentials while simultaneously building a luxurious sensibility. It is appropriate, then, that her first book is titled SIMPLICITY. As she herself points out in the introduction, “There is nothing simple about simplicity. Simplicity is complexity.” For Braithwaite, simplicity does not mean minimalism. In her hands, less becomes more and minimal becomes powerfully sensuous. Simplicity, for her, is a discipline in design that balances function, comfort, and wonderment.

SIMPLICITY opens with Braithwaite’s conviction that a designer must not merely look—but actually “see”—in a critical way. That degree of discernment, she believes, leads to an understanding of design integrity that only results from an educated, principled, and disciplined eye. It is that way of seeing that she brings to the world of interiors. At the first evaluation of every project, she assesses its fundamental design elements: architecture, composition, proportion and scale, color, pattern, texture, and craftsmanship, and their interrelationships. Full-color photographs on nearly every page gloriously illustrate these essential design attributes as they appear in country, classic, and contemporary settings, her three broad categories for classifying the entire stylistic spectrum.

Throughout SIMPLICITY, Braithwaite invites readers to “see” the simplicity that is her goal in every undertaking. As a designer, she moves seamlessly across stylistic boundaries. SIMPLICITY features homes from around the country and from across the historical continuum, including her family’s own unforgettable country house in Atlanta and her stunning contemporary seaside retreat on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, as well as memorable classic residences in New York City, Chicago, and Atlanta. All these homes will stand the test of time, because in Braithwaite’s hands, and through her eyes, simplicity is, ultimately, timeless.

Nancy is the featured speaker at the upcoming Art With a Twist event on October 22 titled, “The Art of Simplicity.” She will join sweetgrass basket artist and 2008 MacArthur Fellow Mary Jackson, to talk about their craft. Nancy was kind enough to take a few moments to talk with us about her design style, inspiration, and creative process.

When did you realize you had a passion for design?

I’ve had a love of design since I was a little girl. When I was 7 or 8 years old I used to make everything with my hands. If you can believe it, it all started with homemade nail dolls!

Describe your design style.

Simplicity — bringing to a design elements that are essential and meaningful, nothing that’s distracting to the eye.

Tell me about your inspiration for writing the book, Simplicity.

After working around the country for over 30 years and having the chance to do some incredible projects, I was ready to tell my story and show readers how simplicity really works and why it’s so important.

Mary Jackson Cobra with Handle

Mary Jackson’s Cobra with Handle

You have long been a collector of Mary Jackson’s work. Tell me about your friendship.

We met years ago at a crafts show and I was immediately intrigued by her work and then even more intrigued after meeting her in person. It’s been a joy to get to know her and to become friends, sharing our passion for craftsmanship and creativity. Anything of excellence interests me and Mary is truly excellent.

Born and raised in Chicago, renowned interior designer Nancy Braithwaite launched her career as an industrial designer after receiving her design degree from Michigan State University. In the thirty years since she formed Nancy Braithwaite Interiors, her acclaimed Atlanta-based firm, Braithwaite’s work has graced the pages of numerous national shelter magazines, books, and newspapers, including Veranda, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Town & Country, and The New York Times. Veranda named Braithwaite a “Magic Maker” in 2013, and in its Silver Anniversary issue the previous year, featured one of her rooms among the 25 most beguiling interiors it had ever published. Braithwaite is a regular on House Beautiful’s list of America’s Top Interior Designers, and Barbara Barry has said she is “one of the best living interior designers.” Atlanta magazine calls Braithwaite “the Grande Dame of Atlanta Design” and credits her as being “essential to putting Atlanta on the interior design map.” Additionally, when Braithwaite was just starting her career, Town & Country identified her as a newcomer to watch. In addition to directing her design firm, Braithwaite and her daughter Chaffee own and operate Baby Braithwaite, a highly successful, fashion-forward baby boutique in Atlanta. Braithwaite lives with her husband Jim in Atlanta, where their children and grandchildren also reside. The family vacations together in a stunning contemporary dwelling designed by Braithwaite on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

Don’t miss this special evening with Nancy and Mary!

Art with a Twist: The Art of Simplicity, An Evening with Designer Nancy Braithwaite and Artist Mary Jackson

Wednesday, October 22, 6pm

 $20 Members, $30 Non Members

Location: Charleston Library Society, 164 King Street

To purchase tickets or for more information please visit gibbesmuseum.org/events or call 843.722.2706 x21.

 

 

Dancing through Life as Art

At the upcoming Art of Healing series, Nia faculty member and teacher trainer Stephaney Abilon will be offering a 2 hour workshop that effects both the brain and the body. Stephaney explains that Nia (pronounced Nee-Uh) is based on 13 principles, the soul of which is the ‘Joy of Movement'; the thing that makes the body feel ALIVE!

Art of Healing Dance

Stephaney Robinson-Abilon, Nia training faculty member

In the Dancing Through Life as Art workshop, our primary focus will be 3 Parts:

1) Learning that when the body is doing everyday movements, such as walking, and opening doors, etc. we can learn to move our bodies in ways that feel easier, lighter and more free.

2) Discovering the mental benefits that occur when the body is in non-movement to create a living meditation.

3) Begin to perceive everything around us, even ordinary objects as art.

These three components utilize awareness as a key component, without awareness the body simply can’t know anything. This ‘life as art’ perspective creates a body that physically feels better, a brain that has more mental clarity and sense of calm, and provides for everyday inspiration. I like to describe this as living in a body, mind, and spirit that are filled with peach juice as opposed to battery acid! This lifestyle approach can be self-healing on many levels.

Nia dance class

An example of a Nia dance class, from nianow.com

Nia is more than just an exercise containing 13 principles, 52 moves, music and movement forms, it is a lifestyle practice that can change both your body and your life. This workshop will combine philosophy and movement; movement that is simple and available for everyone regardless of fitness level. Nia appeals to professional athletes and dancers as well as arthritics and people with back pain. Nia is available to all.

In this workshop, I will provide participants with tools that allow the body to feel better and more alive, and providing an inspiring way to view the world. Dancing is not separate from life, it exists in our everyday movements. Similarly, art not only exists inside a frame, it exists in everything that surrounds us and can be perceived as such. This will be an opportunity for participants to become inspired as well as embracing their body’s potential to move in such a way that every movement contains beauty, strength, and self-healing.

Stephaney Robinson-Abilon, Faculty Member of Nia Training and Faculty Member of the Sophia Institute

Art of Healing: Dancing Through Life as Art

Tuesday, October 7, 5:30-7:30pm

$35 Museum Members, $45 Non-Members

Location: Hazel Parker Community Center, 70 E. Bay St.

All classes require advanced registration. To register, please visit the website for a registration form or contact Rebecca Sailor at rsailor@gibbesmuseum.org or 843.722.2706 x41.


Stellar Sculpture and Other Exciting Summer Acquisitions

Faith, 1866–1867

Faith, 1866–1867
By Hiram Powers

New acquisitions to the collection are always exciting, and this summer the Gibbes has been very fortunate. Thanks to William and Susanne McGuire and the McGuire Family Foundation, an acquisition fund was established in 2011 to bolster the museum’s sculpture collection in preparation for the renovation and reopening of the Gibbes. Recognizing the significance of the Rotunda gallery to the architectural history of the building and to visitors’ experience, the McGuires have been working closely with the Gibbes staff for the last three years to find sculptural pieces that will enhance the reinstallation of the collection in this magnificent gallery which was originally designed to function as a grand sculpture gallery. Our goal has been to locate exceptional examples of nineteenth-century marble sculpture by American artists in keeping with the tradition of Charlestonians who patronized American artists working in Italy during that era. This summer, two remarkable works of neoclassical sculpture were secured as part of this effort. Full size busts of Faith, by sculptor Hiram Powers and Helen of Troy by Pierce Francis Connelly (a student of Powers’) are premier examples of work by these nineteenth-century American artists. These remarkable statues will soon reside in the beautifully restored Rotunda, with the support of Board members Susan and Van Campbell.

Helen of Troy” by Pierce Francis Connelly

Helen of Troy” by Pierce Francis Connelly

In addition to our major sculpture acquisitions we also received a very generous donation of two watercolor paintings Wednesday Chores (2004) and Sweet Potato Pie (1998) by Charleston artist Mary Whyte. Donated by David Inge of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, these works are featured in Whyte’s book Down Bohicket Road: An Artist’s Journey. Paintings from this series— including the two in this donation—document the Gullah women of the Hebron Saint Francis Center on John’s Island. Soon after her permanent move to Charleston, Whyte joined the group’s weekly fellowship meetings and began to sketch portraits of the women and their activities—bible study, quilting and meal preparation. The experience represents a turning point in the artist’s career and resulted in an acclaimed series of watercolors honoring the women and their dedication to family and faith.

Wednesday Chores, 2004, by Mary Whyte

Wednesday Chores, 2004, by Mary Whyte

Finally, as part of our effort to develop an outstanding collection of contemporary art by southern artists, the Gibbes purchased Wave Upon Wave (2014) by John Westmark from the recent solo exhibition John Westmark: Narratives organized by the Gibbes and on view from April 4–August 3, 2014. Westmark was the 2012 recipient of the Factor Prize for Contemporary Southern Art (now the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art). His large-scale paintings explore the human figure through an innovative use of text and paper sewing patterns collaged on canvas. Westmark’s paintings depict strong courageous women, some portrayed as stoic martyrs and others as warriors engaged in conflicts of rebellion.

Wave Upon Wave, 2014

Wave Upon Wave, 2014
By John Westmark

We are looking forward to seeing all of these new additions to the permanent collection on view in the renovated gallery spaces!

Sara Arnold, Curator of Collections

Next Page »